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Policy Platforms, Campaign Spending and Voter Participation

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  • Helios Herrera
  • David K Levine
  • Cesar Martinelli

Abstract

We model electoral competition between two parties in a winner-take-all election. Parties choose strategically first their platforms and then their campaign spending under aggregate uncertainty about voters' preferences. We use the model to examine why campaign spending in the United States has increased at the same time that politics has become more polarized. We find that a popular explanation -- more accurate targeting of campaign spending -- is not consistent. While accurate targeting may lead to greater spending, it also leads to less polarization. We argue that a better explanation is that voters preferences have become more volatile from the point of view of parties at the moment of choosing policy positions. This both raises campaign spending and increases polarization. It is also consistent with the observation that voters have become less committed to the two parties.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 618897000000000935.

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Date of creation: 17 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:618897000000000935

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References

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  1. Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2005. "Vote Buying," Others 0503006, EconWPA.
    • Jackson, Matthew O. & Dekel, Eddie & Wolinsky, Asher, 2005. "Vote buying," Working Papers 1215, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    • Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2004. "Vote Buying," Discussion Papers 1386, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Christian Schultz, 2007. "Strategic Campaigns and Redistributive Politics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 936-963, 07.
  3. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, 09.
  4. Barry Nalebuff & Roni Shachar, 1997. "Follow The Leader: Theory And Evidence On Political Participation," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm57, Yale School of Management.
  5. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
  6. Prat, Andrea, 1999. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 2152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Enriqueta Aragonés & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.
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Cited by:
  1. Jan K. Brueckner & Kangoh Lee, 2013. "Negative Campaigning in a Probabilistic Voting Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 4233, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Fabian Gouret & Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2011. "An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00867711, HAL.
  3. Matias Iaryczower & Andrea Mattozzi, 2008. "Ideology and Competence in Alternative Electoral Systems," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002387, David K. Levine.
  4. Cesar Martinelli, 2006. "Elections as Targeting Contests," Working Papers 0601, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM, revised Mar 2006.
  5. Tilman Klumpp, 2011. "Populism, Partisanship, and the Funding of Political Campaigns," Emory Economics 1107, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  6. Arianna Degan, 2013. "Civic duty and political advertising," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 531-564, March.
  7. Evrenk, Haldun & Lambie-Hanson, Timothy & Xu, Yourong, 2013. "Party-bosses vs. party-primaries: Quality of legislature under different selectorates," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 168-182.
  8. Meirowitz, Adam, 2006. "Electoral Contests," Papers 06-21-2007, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  9. Matias Iaryczower & Andrea Mattozzi, 2012. "The pro-competitive effect of campaign limits in non-majoritarian elections," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 591-619, April.
  10. Tomer Blumkin & Volker Grossmann, 2010. "May increased partisanship lead to convergence of parties’ policy platforms?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 547-569, December.
  11. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An alternative approach of valence advantage in spatial competition," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00267218, HAL.
  12. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2012. "Information and Extremism in Elections," Working Papers 2013-04, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  13. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibrium in a discrete Downsian model given a non-minimal valence advantage and linear loss functions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 150-153.
  14. Norman Schofield & Christopher Claassen & Ugur Ozdemir & Alexei Zakharov, 2011. "Estimating the effects of activists in two-party and multi-party systems: comparing the United States and Israel," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 483-518, April.

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